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Further proof that anyone with enough money to call long distance to a Southeast Asian manufacturing plant can release a netbook, EMTEC (yes, that EMTEC) has announced its "Gdium Liberty" netbook.

Here’s what’s NOT different about this netbook. It’s entirely based on open source software, meaning it runs Linux. Also, it’s got a 10-inch screen at 1024×600 resolution, weighs 2.6-pounds, and features "a full, comfortable keyboard" according to the company. A full, comfortable keyboard if you’re a small child, according to me.

Here’s what IS different. Atom processor? Nope. Say hello to the energy-efficient 64-bit ST Microelectronics CPU running a customized version of Mandriva Linux.

Also, EMTEC is pushing the idea of the G-Key, which is a "bootable USB key on which the Linux operating system, applications, and personal data are stored." It sits hanging out of the front of the computer, ready to be accidentally snapped off within the first week of ownership. EMTEC claims that it’ll allow different people to use the same computer with their own USB keys. I guess, but who shares a netbook? That’s the whole point of a netbook – to free up the main computer in the house.

It might actually be able to make a splash with schools, businesses, or anywhere else that’s keen on swapping netbooks out quickly. It’ll cost under $400, which the company believes will solidify its position as "a key player in the netbook market." The netbook market where, like, 80% of them cost under $400.

Full press release:

EMTEC to Reveal Gdium Mobile Netbook at CES

EMTEC has officially launched the Gdium, an ultra-portable, affordable “netbook” computer with a stunning design and innovative architecture entrenched in the open-source world.

Columbus, OHIO January 7, 2009

– EMTEC, a leader in mobile storage solutions and peripherals, has unveiled the Gdium, an ultra-portable, affordable netbook computer, designed to be smart, reliable and stylish.

The EMTEC Gdium is the ultimate mobile computer, weighing in at 2.6 pounds. The Gdium boasts a compact size (9.8 x 7.2 x 1.25 inches), while still offering a web-optimized 1024 x 600 resolution on a notable 10-inch screen. It also comes equipped with a full, comfortable keyboard.

The software application package included with Gdium is based entirely on Open Source software. It includes an extensive variety of programs: Firefox internet browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, instant messaging, VoIP, blog editor, audio/video players and security utilities, as well as a complete Open Office suite of applications for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.

The Gdium integrates an energy efficient processor and operating system. The processor, based on MIPS-64 architecture, is provided by ST Microelectronics, a tier-one top-quality chip maker. Designed to combine performance and low energy consumption, the Gdium runs on a dedicated and optimized version of Mandriva Linux OS, specially designed for the 64-bit processor.

Unique to the Gdium is the G-Key, a bootable USB key on which the Linux operating system, applications and personal data are stored. The G-Key allows each user to store their personal information and preferences securely, without leaving a trace on the computer.

“The Gdium netbook offering is unique to the marketplace,” said Chris Mack, EVP Sales & Marketing, EMTEC, North America. “The revolutionary new design and the unique synchronization feature of the G-Key separate Gdium from the rest of the pack. With a sub-$400 retail price point, we believe EMTEC will become a key player in the netbook market.”

Gdium also has a dedicated website, which features an online, social networking environment and provides multimedia resources as well as educational content aimed at students. The Gdium website provides a range of communication tools and services, from e-mail to chat forums, social networking, blogs and dedicated news forums in a safe, user-friendly environment.

The EMTEC Gdium also features an exclusive array of accessories and travel bags. To find out more about EMTEC Gdium products and accessories, please visit www.emtecelectronics.com.

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